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Loudspeakers between  £4,000 and £9,999


Back to speakers below £3,999


Heretic Audio Huron 3SV

The ‘SV’ in the name stands for ‘Silver Version’ and gives a hint about what makes this speaker special. Closely related as it is to the standard Huron 3 (featured elsewhere on the site) the changes are wide ranging and the result of a huge amount of time optimising the design when budgetary constraints were eased considerably.


Like the standard model these are still a highly efficient speaker which combine an easy impedance load with high sensitivity making them perfect for use with almost any amplifier. The changes include a much more heavily damped cabinet (which is very labour intensive to do), a substantially in house modified tweeter, seriously improved crossover components and to top it off all internal wiring (and there’s a lot of it!) is made from cotton covered pure silver wire.


Sonically the scale and bandwidth of the standard version is naturally retained, the improvements are however very wide ranging. There’s much less cabinet colouration, much greater transparency and delicacy and musically everything shifts up a gear.


Dimensions: Width 24cm, Depth 46cm, Height 104cm

Finish: Cherry or Walnut  real wood veneer. Satin Black or Satin White paint. High Gloss Black or White paint for a premium.


Heretic Audio Huron 3SV speakers: £4,000/pair

High Gloss Black or White paint finish +£500





ProAc Response D30/D30R

Due for launch in mid June 2013, the D30 fills the gap between the D28 and D40 in their range. It is available in two versions, one with a soft dome tweeter and one with a Ribbon tweeter (the ‘R’ version). It shares a similar carbon fibre bass unit with the D40.

Two versions will be available, one with a soft dome tweeter and the other with a ribbon tweeter. Naturally we'll be having a listen to them as soon as they have models available to audition.


ProAc D30 speakers in Cherry, Mahogany, Maple or Black: £5,175

ProAc D30 speakers in Ebony and Rosewood: £5,950





Audio Note AN-E

       

Above: AN-E/Spe HE


The AN-E is currently the largest Audio Note loudspeaker model, and like the rest of the products from this manufacturer there are many different derivatives with changes to wiring, drive units and crossovers (internal and external) and cabinets.


The fundamental basics of the speaker stay the same throughout, it’s a fairly large, two way, rear ported, stand mount design using an 8 inch bass/mid driver and 1 inch soft dome tweeter. The speaker proportions may seem quite different from modern fashion, being wider rather than deeper, but in most rooms this is far more space efficient, and is responsible for the speakers impressive scale and imaging.


With a claimed efficiency in the region of 94dB up to 98dB (with efficiency rising as you go up through the range) and presenting an easy load to the amplifier these speakers allow a colossal choice of partnering amplification, and although they naturally lend themselves to smaller zero feedback valve amplifiers they will work well with any amplifier of sufficient quality.


Great attention is paid to the design and construction of these speakers, the cabinets are made entirely of  birch plywood (with the exception of the entry level AN-E/D) which are then veneered in a wide range of stunning veneers with or without a gloss finish (available for an additional cost). The attention to detail extends to them chilling the front and back panels prior to fitting so that they can use the minimum of adhesive  - a technique that was found to improve sound quality. The crossovers are all hard wired, and the tweeter network is adjusted precisely to ensure precise pair matching (to within 0.4dB of a reference).


The AN-E is intended to be used against walls or even in corners if possible, not only does this allow the speaker to ‘drive’ the room very effectively at low frequencies, it also means that what is a reasonably large box can visually ‘disappear’ much better than many smaller speakers that require far more floor space.


One of the more recent innovations within the Audio Note range is the use of Hemp cones, which on some models are standard fitment and on others are available as an option (the alternative being paper cones). As you’d expect, the paper cones sound incredibly fast, clean and exciting to listen to. In comparison the Hemp cones have a slightly richer and more relaxed presentation (almost as if you are a couple of rows further back in the concert hall). The main benefit of the Hemp is the improved mid band texture, tonality and resolution. I am regularly asked which I prefer and hand on heart I find it difficult to say - to a degree it depends upon taste and partnering equipment.

So what makes the AN-E range so special? Well it’s their overall abilities that are really remarkable, not one area of the speaker stands out as being obvious, they just work seamless as a whole. They produce a believably solid and life like sound stage, have speed and resolution in abundance, a completely natural tonality and low audible cabinet colouration (this is in reference to the plywood models).


As will all efficient speakers the dynamics are impressive and believable. What’s more bass extension is remarkable, especially considering their size and efficiency (the manufacturer claims a remarkable in room -6dB point at 18Hz). There’s never any sign of strain either, they are completely effortless regardless of how complex the performance.


They are incredibly subtle and revealing devices too, and whilst they will reveal the limitations of poor matching equipment, paradoxically they have the ability to often get brilliant results even from poorer recordings. They pull off the trick that many Audio Note products manage, they effectively disappear leaving the recording and the performance right in front of you. Nowadays it’s very infrequent that I hear new things in my favourite recordings, but the AN-E HE’s manage this trick remarkably often.


As you go up the range transparency, dynamics, detail retrieval and musicality all increase.


Please note there are no grilles supplied with the speakers, but if this is a problem for potential owners we can always provide something to protect the drive units from small fingers! Once you see the quality of the veneers available you will not want to hide them away under grille cloth unnecessarily.


I have broken this large range down into the following 3 sections:


Entry level model

AN-E-D: separate from the rest of the range, this is the only model not to feature a plywood cabinet or real wood veneer, available only in Black Ash real wood veneer, with chipboard/MDF cabinet: £POA at manufacturers request (+£200 for Hemp cones)


Internal crossover models

These models have cabinets made entirely of Russian Birch plywood which are fully veneered in a selection of stunning veneers (see lower down for the listing of finishes).


AN-E/LX: wired internally with AN-Lexus LX copper cable: £POA at manufacturers request (+£250 for Hemp cones)


AN-E/LX HE: wired internally with AN-LEXUS LX copper cable and equipped with silver voice coil HE bass driver (HEMP cone) and silver voice coil tweeter: £POA at manufacturers request


AN-E/Spe: as above, but with SPe silver internal wiring: £POA at manufacturers request (+£214 for Hemp cones)


AN-E/SPe HE: wired internally with AN-SPe silver cable and equipped with silver voice coil HE bass driver (HEMP cone) and silver voice coil tweeter: £POA at manufacturers request


AN-E/SEC Silver : ALNICO magnet drivers (rather than ferrite), with silver voice coils, Hemp cone bass driver, silver inductors and SOGON LX internal silver wiring: £POA at manufacturers request


External crossover models

These models feature external crossovers and come equipped with additional wiring to run between external crossover enclosure and speaker. It is possible to purchase a stand with the crossovers onboard for an additional £1,500, but personally we would only recommend it for when space is seriously limited.


AN-E/LX HE Signature: wired internally and externally with AN-LEXUS LX copper cable and equipped with silver voice coil HE bass driver (Hemp cone) and silver voice coil tweeter. External crossover features Audio Note copper foil capacitors and hand wound solid copper wired inductors, mounted in a none magnetic aluminium enclosure: £POA at manufacturers request


AN-E/SPe HE Signature: wired internally and externally with AN-SPe silver cable and equipped with silver voice coil HE bass driver (Hemp cone) and silver voice coil tweeter. External crossover features Audio Note copper foil capacitors and hand wound solid copper wired inductors, mounted in a none magnetic aluminium enclosure: £POA at manufacturers request


AN-E/SPe SE Signature: wired internally and externally with AN-SPe silver cable and equipped with silver voice coil HE bass driver (Hemp cone) and silver voice coil tweeter. External crossover features Audio Note copper foil capacitors and hand wound solid AN Silver wired inductors, mounted in a none magnetic aluminium enclosure: £POA at manufacturers request


AN-E/SPx SE Signature: wired internally and externally with AN-SPx silver cable and equipped with silver voice coil HE bass driver (Hemp cone) and silver voice coil tweeter. External crossover features Audio Note copper foil capacitors and hand wound solid AN Silver wired inductors, mounted in a none magnetic aluminium enclosure: £POA at manufacturers request


AN-E SEC Signature: wired internally and externally with AN-SOGON LX silver cable and equipped with ALNICO magnet drivers (rather than ferrite), with silver voice coils, and Hemp cone bass driver. External crossover features Audio Note copper foil capacitors and hand wound solid AN Silver wired inductors, mounted in a none magnetic aluminium enclosure: £POA at manufacturers request


AN-E SOGON: wired internally and externally with AN-SOGON LX silver cable and equipped with ALNICO magnet drivers (rather than ferrite), with silver voice coils, and Hemp cone bass driver. External crossover features Audio Note Silver foil capacitors and hand wound solid Silver wired inductors, mounted in a none magnetic, aluminium enclosure. Each crossover enclosure is the size of a single Meishu amplifier, and due to the size of the crossover components, the AN-E SOGON is not available with the integrated crossover / stand option: £POA at manufacturers request


Above: Alnico tweeter


Dimensions: Width 36cm, depth 27cm, Height 79cm (plus stands).


The finish options available are: Maple, Curly Maple, Palisander, Olive, Tulip, Alder, Oak, Apple, Cherry, Walnut, Black ash, Wenge, Birch Burl, Birds Eye Maple, Makassar-Ebony, Madrone burl, Indian Rosewood, Poplar Burl and Yew. Standard finish is a satin coating, optional high gloss and piano gloss finishes are also available.


I’ve pictured a few of the finishes below, we have samples of these finishes viewable in store too.


Stands:

A choice of stands are available including Audio Notes own design (a flat back stand that requires mass loading) and the fully welded skeletal Something Solid XF (please see speaker stands section) are suitable.


-Audio Note AN-E stands: £POA at manufacturers request




Heco Direkt Dreiklang

The Direkt Dreikland is a very substantial 3 way design from Heco. It features a paper 15” bass driver, an 8” paper mid range driver and a horn loaded 28mm soft dome tweeter. These ingredients when combined with a large volume box should produce both good bandwidth and efficiency, and with a claimed 98dB sensitivity they are certainly not lacking in this respect. The speakers are just under 70kg each, making them at least a two man lift, but their shallow depth and floor porting means that they should not intrude into the room quite as much as would be expected from other speakers of this ilk. At the time of writing I’ve not heard these speakers, but if the excellent 2 way Direkt is anything to go by then they will be dynamic and exciting listen.


Dimensions: H 115cm, W 70cm, D35cm

Finishes: Black or White Satin


Heco Direkt Dreiklang: £9,499.95


  


Speakers above: £10,000


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